Category Archives: Healthcare

US healthcare: Losers & Looters

When I saw this tweet from my bro few days back, I thought it might be just another sarcastic joke of his. It took few hours for me to realize that it was actually true. 4 day hospital stay for the treatment of malaria relapse with just Intravenous medications, few tests and handsful of tablets has generated a $50,560 bill for my sister-in-law. That roughly translates to Rs.23 Lacs in Indian rupees. Can anyone explain how in this world would someone be able to ‘account’ for such a bill in a hospital ?? Even if she was being put up on a 24 ct gold bed, fed with platinum enriched IV fluid or diamond crusted tablets, it wont amount to $50k. Brother has apparently talked to hospital and they have confirmed that the figure is actual and it was not a spelling mistake. They have sent it to insurance company for refund verification and as she was rushed to hospital through emergency, there is a good chance that we will have to pay a chunk of that bill all by ourselves.

This small example shows the real face of America. How people are living in an illusion that they are covered under one of the best healthcare system in this world. No, definitely not….its a vicious cycle where only insurers and doctors/hospitals benefit and soon this bubble is gonna burst for sure. I started admiring and respecting Indian healthcare system after comparing it to this, coz when I had same malarial replase last year I took 1 course of Primaquine tablets after consulting a doctor who prescribed just one blood test to validate it. Total cost = Rs. 250 (~ $6) with a full recovery in 5 days. Now thats what it actually cost to treat a simple malarial infection.

5 simple ways to reduce strain on Hands while using computer

Carpal tunnel syndrome was a fashion word couple of years back as it used to affect mostly women at work in home, but gradually people are realizing its affects the harder way due to repetitive work environment in IT industry. More and more work hours on computer or even casual web surfing can land your wrists and hand in trouble. It may not be as dangerous as carpal tunnel, but it would definitely give you long, irritating pain on your wrist or forearm.

I, myself was a victim of the same until few months back due to continuous web surfing and ignorance of right postures. It was after a long ride on bike on a chilly winter night, I realized an unbearable pain on my right wrist. Reacting quick enough, I realized that the real culprit is not the cold weather, but the repetitive use of mouse during my endless hours of blogging and web surfing. Now that I know the problem, I tried various remedies for the same. Few worked, few didn’t. Here am going to share with you few of those tricks which worked. I would love to know more of them from you. See you in comments.

1. Use more of keyboard shortcuts and less of mouse clicks

Though people might argue that keyboard taps are equally dangerous as mouse clicks in causing harm to wrist and fingers, I disagree with this due to my own experience. Keyboard taps are much more gentle when compared to each mouse click and scrolls you make. In a keyboard tap, the whole palm or hand is involved in the action which spreads the overall effect of the typing. But while clicking mouse only one finger is being constantly used and this repetitive action causes the trouble.

Switching to keyboard shortcuts is an easy way to overcome this. In the beginning you might find it a bit difficult, but gradually you will get used to it. You just need a little bit of patience and practice. Earlier all my ‘stumbleupon’ used to be through mouse clicks, which I changed to a simple keyboard shortcut and believe me that small change made a big difference in alleviating my pain on the wrist.

2. Use alternate hands for typing and for using mouse

This was a result of my experimentation to reduce the pain caused by repetitive action. As am a right hander, I was used to clicking with the same hand. Unbearable pain compelled me to shift to left hand and that itself made the task easier. Clicking with left hand for a right hander is not at all difficult. You don’t even need any practice for the same. (Donot act smart by changing the right key/left combination in the mouse options, its not necessary). Though this option would give you a temporary relief, it is not going to be a long lasting one. Slowly your left hand also would develop the same pain which you got on the right hand. In that case, use this in combination with other techniques mentioned in this post.

3. Use Mouse pads with Gel

This is an option which worked for me. Wrist needs a resting space and the gel which conforms its shape according to the posture would let you give this support. You would suddenly feel much more ease in using the mouse. You can either place your wrist on the gel pad or the palm on it. Either ways it would ease the stress and strain caused on the wrist.

4. Make sure your wrist/hand is supported by a semi-hard surface

Never let your hands be in air while typing or using mouse. Leaving them in air puts extra pressure on the hands to support them with a surface. So always keep them on a surface like table or the handle of chair. By this subtle action, see how much relief you get out of it. This would also allow free flow of blood till the fingers and back. Keeping hands in upside position for long would make your palm go pale due to non-availability of blood.

5. Open and close your palm in intervals

Perhaps one of the most important tips which is suggested for this problem. Along with causing strain on the wrist, the repetitive action also causes a much bigger problem which is the non-circulation of blood till the fingers. If you notice your hands after a long web surfing exercise without a break, you can see that the palms are all pale and white. This is because the upside posture coupled with long repetitive actions restricts the blood to flow freely to the fingertips. To avoid this just open and close your palms in different intervals. Apart from initiating free blood flow, it would also help stretching your hand and fingers.

Even after doing all this techniques, still if you think you are in trouble then consult a medic immediately or else wait for the technologies like “voice recoginition”, “dontclick“, “touch screen” to mature so that you totally avoid using mouse or keyboard on a physical surface. Also using a laptop keyboard and touchpad is less stressful than using the desktop keyboard and mouse. So there is hope for them too.

Share your ideas in the comments section on How to reduce the stress and chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

Reliance Fresh: A solution to farmer suicides ?

Farmers in the northern district of Kerala, Wayanad has been in the limelight for past few years all for wrong reasons. Wayanad is infamous for the most number of farmer suicides in the country, probably globally too. Changing governments practically did little to curb this. The major reasons for non-survival of farmers where bad crop, irregular monsoon and most importantly due to lower prices quoted by the middlemen for their produce.

This compelled them to go for the extreme step as they couldn’t pay off their loan debt to the banks. Leftist government stormed at it by totally blaming the banks for the reason behind suicide. Thereby they washed off their hands from their eminent role in the whole situation. Now that Reliance has taken this as their policy of buying directly from farmers, am sure this will at least give them a ray of hope to farmer to get better prices for their produce, though bad crop and monsoon still poses a threat.

I am waiting to see how Left govt. responds to this situation. Am sure they wont accept this in good taste. I had the great privilege of being present at a ceremony where a Local left leader “un-officially” sealed Reliance Fresh shop with the help of Police at Irinjalakuda, a small town in mid-Kerala (which is my hometown). This was not widely accepted as communists had expected, coz people are now aware that they get Fresh vegetables for cheap price at this “Sophisticated” kirana shops like Subhiksha and Reliance. So if Left govt. still want to close all the reliance fresh stores illegally (coz MRTP act gives protection to any enterprise from operating across the country), let them do it….after all why should they give a damn to Farmer deaths ??…it is not still a major vote bank for them.

Read the IBNLIVE story here

Addiction Scale of Popular Drugs

Withdrawal: Presence and severity of characteristic withdrawal symptoms.

Reinforcement: A measure of the substance’s ability, in human and animal tests, to get users to take it again and again, and in preference to other substances.

Tolerance: How much of the substance is needed to satisfy increasing cravings for it, and the level of stable need that is eventually reached.

Dependence: How difficult it is for the user to quit, the relapse rate, the percentage of people who eventually become dependent, the rating users give their own need for the substance and the degree to which the substance will be used in the face of evidence that it causes harm.

Intoxication: Though not usually counted as a measure of addiction in itself, the level of intoxication is associated with addiction and increases the personal and social damage a substance may do.